Component Compatibility: How Does It Work?

If you’ve ever tried upgrading your PC before, or tried building one from scratch, you’ll know that you have to get the right parts that are compatible with eachother, so how does it all work?

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Computer components are similar to lego in the way that they have to be able to fit together in order to work. Every few years, as technology advances, the hardware changes slightly which means that older hardware will no longer be compatible with it. Here is how you can easily tell what will and won’t work together:

Motherboards & CPUs

The first and most basic thing to know when getting new components or building a new PC, is knowing whether your CPU is an Intel or AMD CPU. Intel has the Core series, ranging from Core i3 to Core i9. They also have their more entry level processors called the Pentium and Celeron which are below the Core i3 CPUs. AMD processors are part of the Ryzen series. This ranges from a Ryzen 3 to Ryzen 9, with the Threadripper series being the more advanced CPUs, and the Athlon being the more entry level CPU below the Ryzen 3. So if you are looking for a new CPU, you need to know what your motherboard supports. Intel motherboards sockets begin with LGA, for example the current latest generation of Intel CPUs is the LGA 1200 series. AMD motherboards take the AM socket, the current being AM4. So once you know what socket your motherboard is, you can then get the appropriate CPU.

Once you know know if you are using AMD or Intel, you need to know what generation your motherboard supports. Every 12-24 months, a new generation CPU will come out for both Intel and AMD. As of late, Intel has been throwing out new generations every year, where as AMD has been doing a new generation every 2nd year. With AMD its quite easy as the Ryzen CPUs have kept the same socket from 2nd generation through to the current 5th gen. Intel changes their socket compatibility every 2 or 3 generations. 8th and 9th gen intel CPUs worked on the LGA 1151 socket, and the 10th and 11th generation use LGA 1200 socket motherboards. Finding parts for anything older than 7th generation Intel and 2nd generation AMD can be difficult, so if you have a motherboard older than that, it would be time to get a new motherboard, CPU and RAM.

How to Choose a Motherboard for Your PC

 

RAM

Replacing memory, or RAM, is a bit simpler than finding a new CPU. The current types of RAM are DDR2, DDR3 an d DDR4, with DDR5 only recently being produced. Each different type is phsyically different and eill therefor only fit the motherboard that supports it. Any new motherboard released from 2015 onwards will support DDR4 RAM. An easy way to tell what type of RAM your board is using is to take out an existing stick of RAM and read the information on it. It will either say DDR2, DDR3 or DDR4, or sometimes it will say PC2, PC3 or PC4. If you don’t see either of those on the RAM, then see if you can find the RAM speed listed. DDR2 speeds went up to about 800mhz, DDR3 went up to 2133mhz, and DDR4 currently starts at 2133mhz, and can go up quite high qith overclocking, reaching speeds above 4000mhz. Certain motherboards will also only support up to a certain speed. So just because you have a board that takes DDR4 RAM, that doesn’t mean it can handle the highest speeds. So be sure to check the manufacturers website to see what your motherboard supports.

 

When you know what socket CPU your board takes, and what RAM it supports, upgrading is quite simple. Finding the components you need is then as simple as heading in store to ask for a quote or browsing our website to find the perfect parts for your needs!

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